Introducing: – The Civil War…

September 29, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Collectible Civil War Era Newspapers

Blog-9-22-2016-Civil-War“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”

Records of a Nation in Turmoil

In the 1860s, Americans’ interest in the Civil War, and its collateral effects, caused a spike in demand for news reports. These were days of heightened concern, and newspapers were one of the few resources that people were able to rely upon for war news.

Aside from specific war news, Civil War newspapers also reported on citizens’ reactions to how the war was shaping the American economy and politics, and opinions about slavery.

Reading an authentic Civil War newspaper and holding the original print paper between your fingers will transport you to the frontlines of battle, and provide a glimpse into the psyche of Civil War-era citizens, politicians, and soldiers.

Original Civil War newspapers are genuine pieces of American history a collector or anyone interested in American history must have.

Harper’s Weekly

Harper’s Weekly was one of the most popular newspapers during the Civil War. Although its base was in New York, its moderate stance on slavery (pre-war) was seen as a way not to upset the newspaper’s Southern readership. However, once the Civil War began, President Lincoln and the Union received Harper’s complete loyalty and support.

As the war went on, the many illustrations and prints from Thomas Nast and Winslow Homer provided a vivid visual account of the battlefields, the people, and the bloodshed—”I’m hoping next week’s edition will show scenes of the battle of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. I’ve read all about it, now I want to see it!” – A Harper’s Weekly reader in 1861. Another Harper’s reader noted, “I look forward to the end of the month and seeing just what transpired at Charleston.”

The illustrations and prints from Harper’s Weekly remain striking in both their detail and artistry. We have several noteworthy issues of Harper’s Weekly in our inventory.

Civil War People & Generals

The Southern States’ call for secession from the Union grew louder after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. A disagreement between President Lincoln and Confederate leader Jefferson Davis over control of Fort Sumter led to overwhelming demand for war. Many men began enlisting for military service shortly after the battle of Fort Sumter.

Our vast inventory of genuine, historic Civil War newspapers highlight the efforts of military heroes from the North and the South that we have all come to know, including Ulysses S. Grant, George McClellan, Robert E. Lee, George Meade, “Stonewall” Jackson, William T. Sherman, and more.

Significant Civil War Battles & Events

Battle reports were common, including struggles at Fort Sumter, Bull Run, Manassas, Antietam, Shiloh, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, Richmond, and so much more.

We have newspapers covering the first shots at Charleston Harbor to the final surrender at Appomattox, plus the Lincoln assassination.

Philadelphia Inquirer

Southern Illustrated News

The Southern Illustrated News was to the Confederacy what Harper’s Weekly was to the Union. Based in Richmond, Virginia, Southern Illustrated News had a rather ornate masthead and its front pages regularly featured portraits of notable Confederate figures, such as Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson, and John S. Mosby. Southern Illustrated remains one of the most sought-after Civil War-era titles in the collecting hobby to date. Visit our Southern Illustrated Pinterest board to view several interesting portraits.

Union Flag

Reporting the Civil War

Before the start of the war, there were 3,725 newspapers in the United States. American newspapers accounted for one-third of all newspapers printed in the world. Most of them were weeklies. At the time, standards for what constituted sound, thorough, and responsible journalism did not exist on the eve of the war, according to Ford Risley, a Civil War journalism expert and head of the Department of Journalism at Penn State University.

Newspapers printed news dispatches, editorials, illustrations, maps, and various other tidbits, such as President Lincoln’s famous letter to Mrs. Bixley “…to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” At times, the dispatches were entirely hearsay and wildly inaccurate, such as this series of short reports from the Daily Journal of Wilmington, NC or this report from the New York Tribune stating that Stonewall Jackson was “Dead Again.”

The Reporters

Reporters were a diverse group. Some had previous experience, but many reporters were lawyers, teachers, clerks, bookkeepers, and ministers. Their levels of education ranged from Ivy-league educated to only basic schooling.

Civil War reporters faced many difficulties, among them uncooperative and unreliable sources, difficulties with dispatching reports back to their newspapers, and even death. One correspondent closed a story with “Your readers must pardon a short letter. No man can write in a happy vein or style while minnie [sic] balls are flying uncomfortably close to his head.” Needless to say, conditions for Civil War reporters were not safe or ideal. More on how reporters lived and worked can be found here.

Confedeate Flag

Unique Printing and Reporting Conditions

After the Union won the Battle of Memphis in June 1862, the Memphis Daily took to the road and became known as the Moving Appeal. During just a four-year period, this newspaper published in nine different cities.

A truly one-of-a-kind newspaper was “printed on board Steamer Des Moines” on blue-lined ledger paper in 1864. This issue also contains a letter written by a soldier to his wife. Letters from soldier correspondence frequently contained glorified accounts of battlefield glory meant to inspire confidence in the readers back home. Occasionally, letters from soldiers had reliable news and insights.


Much more can be said regarding newspapers from the Civil War, but for now, please enjoy the Rare Newspapers dedicated page dedicated to original and historic issues from this era:

The Civil War


The worst kind of “ism”…

March 31, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

“Isms” can be found everywhere – in politics, medicine, psychology, religion, etc.. If you suffer from something, believe something, or think something, or have a habit of doing something, there is likely an “ism” to cover it. A March 17, 1862 issue of the Kansas State Journal included a humorous item with a religious flare poking fun at “isms” while at the same time softly admonishing the common practice of assuming the worst in others (antithesisofloveism?). What initially caught my attention was the term “socinianism” -an “ism” which until now was unbeknownst to me. Enjoy (or ponder):Blog-3-31-2015-ISMS

The “Long Day of Joshua” on steroids…

March 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Many are familiar with the Biblical account aptly named “The Long Day of Joshua” where Joshua, through the power of God and on behalf of the allied Israelite and Gibeonite armies, commands the sun to stand still in order to give them more time to complete the rout of their enemies – which results in a miraculous extension of the day. The publishers of The Kansas State Journal must have had a pretty amazing need for an even greater expansion of time as they apparently didn’t just annex hours, but entire days to the calendar in January of 1862 (see below). Oh ye of little faith. Amazing!Blog-3-10-2016-Long-Month

Pictures… Is a thousand words always enough?

January 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The New York Times of October 20, 1862 includes a wonderful article which eloquently combats any romanticized view of the Civil War. Sometimes, far from the realities of the slaughter (in time and distance), we fail to properly connect with the tragedy and horror experienced by so many. The article includes, in part, “There is one side of the picture that the sun did not catch, one phase that has escaped photographic skill it is the background of widows and orphans, torn from the bosom of their natural protectors by the red remorseless hand of Battle, and thrown upon the brotherhood of God. Homes have been made desolate, and the light of life in thousands of hearts has been quenched forever. All of this desolation imagination must paint — broken hearts cannot be photographed.” Rather than say more, we’ll let the article speak for itself. The actual original article itself may be viewed in full at:

Brady’s Photographs; Pictures of the Dead at Antietam

The Civil War… 150 years ago… March 1, 1862…

March 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio… where was this war being fought?  How are our loved ones doing?  Are they near live action?  Are they even still alive… or perhaps injured?  Is the war coming to me?  Are we safe?  Will soldiers harm civilians?  Will we ever be able to visit our relatives on the other side again?  Would they even want to see us?  What does all this mean?  Today we look at original newspapers printed for March 1, 1862, and try to understand what it was like to walk in their shoes. Please enjoy:

Original Newspapers Read On March 1, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 22, 1862…

February 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

On February 22, 1862, news was spreading that Jefferson Davis was soon to be elected President of the Confederacy.  If so, what would this mean?  Would the war soon be over?  Would this entrench the opposing sides making an early end nearly impossible?  Additional news was spreading that Fort Donelson either was, or was soon to be, under fire.  It seemed as if every day brought discouraging news to the North, and quite the opposite to the South.  Please enjoy the following original newspapers printed for the day, and see life unfold through the eyes of those present during this flash-point period in American history:

Original Newspapers Read On February 22, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 15, 1862…

February 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

Today we take a look back at a sampling of the original newspapers printed for February 8, 1862.  It is hard to imagine what it was like to rely almost entirely upon newspapers for news concerning loved ones, battle reports, military movements, political decisions, etc. – all of which were rapidly changing the landscape of American experiment in self government.  Please enjoy:

Original Newspapers Read On February 15, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 8, 1862…

February 8, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

150 years ago today, citizens, from both the north and the south, sat down over a cup of coffee (if they were lucky) to read newspapers telling of the capture of Fort Henry, the Battle of Mill Spring, the available (advertisement) speech by Frederick Douglass, and more, while perhaps looking over large detailed maps of related regions.  The daily newspaper was their connection to the events touching nearly every household in America.   Enjoy a glimpse of the issues printed for the day:

Original Newspapers Read On February 8, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… February 1, 1862…

February 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An ongoing reflection on the Civil War… 150 years prior to this post…

On February 1, 1862, the following issues were all held… and read… by those living during the American Civil War.  Feelings of fear, sorrow, and uncertainty were prevalent as readers searched for news which would provide a glimmer of hope that loved ones would be safe, the greater good would prevail, and soon all would be well.  Experience a glimpse of their world as you browse through the following:

Original Newspapers Read On February 1, 1862

“History is never more fascinating than when it’s read from the day it was first reported.”, Timothy Hughes, 1976

The Civil War… 150 years ago… January 25, 1862…

January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Today we continue our look back on the Civil War as reported within the newspapers held by those living during the Civil War… 150 years ago to-date (of this post). While many of the issues shown below are no longer available for sale, reading a snap-shot of what was printed for the given day will hopefully provide a glimpse of life during the critical period in American history. Each link shown will take you to the full description w/ images of authentic issues which were held by those living during the Civil War. Today’s selections are:

Small front page map…
THE NEW YORK HERALD, January 25, 1862 * Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky * General George H. Thomas The first column on the front page has a very small map headed: “Sketch of the Battle Field & Its Vicinity”, with related heads at the top of the column: “The Battle Of Mill Spring” “The Rebels Overcome by the Superior Fighting of the Union Troops”. Plus there are other one column heads on the front page including: “The Capture of Biloxi” “News From Central Kentucky” “The Burnside Expedition” “North Carolina Rebels in a Flutter” “News From Missouri” and more.
1862 Cedar Keys, Florida…
NEW YORK DAILY TRIBUNE, NY, January 25, 1862 * Cedar Keys, Florida * General George Burnside This Genuine newspaper has a Wealth of Civil War reporting from during Abraham Lincoln’s administration. Among the one column headlines on the Civil War are: * LATE NEWS FROM SOUTHERN SOURCES * The Rebels Hear From Kentucky * THE BURNSIDE EXPEDITION * Rebel Alarm And Uncertainty * DRAFTING IN NORTH CAROLINA * Cedar Keys Captured by Union Forces and more. Complete in eight pages.
South Carolina… Civil War…
CHARLESTON DAILY COURIER, Charleston, South Carolina, January 25, 1862 * Rare confederate issue Printed in the dateline is: “Confederate States Of America” which is rarely found on Southern newspapers. Front page war reports include: “From Richmond” “Latest Northern News–Battle Of Fishing Creek–Probable Total Failure Of The Burnside Expedition–Nine Of The Vessels Lost–700 Yankee Troops Lost” & “The War in Kentucky” “Second Great Victory–The Enemy’s Entrenchments Attacked & Forced–The Stars & Stripes Waving over the Federal Fortifications–The Rebels Driven to the River–Large number of Prisoners & Heavy Losses–Zollicoffer’s Body in our Possession–Bailie Peyton, Jr. Killed.” Other minor war reports throughout, plus various ads and notices. The bkpg. has a war-related poem: “My Maryland”.
‘Little Mac Out Again’ which shows McClellan on horseback…

HARPER’S WEEKLY, NY, January 25, 1862 This issue features a nice full frontpage illustration entitled ‘Little Mac Out Again’ which shows McClellan on horseback. A fullpage features two halfpage illustrations ‘Fort Holt, Kentucky, Opposite Cairo’ and ‘Commodore Foote’s Gun-Boate Flotilla on the Mississippi’. A fullpage “Bird’s-eye View of the Vessels Composing the Burnside Expedition at Fortress Monroe, and Showing Norfolk and Its Approaches”. A halfpage “Map Showing Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, and the Approaches to Norfolk From the South”. A very nice double page centerfold ‘Grand Reception at the White House, January, 1862’ shows Lincoln & many from the military. A half page “Embarkation of Part of General Burnside’s Expedition at Annapolix, on Board the ‘Hussar'” and a nearly half page “Execution of private Lanahan, of the Regular Army, for Murder, at Washington”. A full page “Birds-Eye View of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Its Approaches”. A 1/3 page “War Map, Showing the Theatre of Operations of the Mississippi Expedition and General Buell’s Army. The back page features two political cartoons.

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